By Rodger M. Wood
One run games, close Northern and Southern Division pennant races, extra inning playoffs, a multitude of top prospects playing good baseball, lots of low run pitching and clutch hitting thrilled AA – Eastern League fans all 2008 season.
Top Yankees prospect CF Austin Jackson was named EL Playoff MVP hitting 259 with two HR and a team high 7 RBI during the playoffs and making a couple unbelievable catches in game 3 that could have been HR that tilted the course of the championship playoff series in favor of Akron.
In the final game, RHP Jason Marquez pitched 1-run ball for 6 IP and Jason Jones pitched shut out ball the last 3 innings.
After a fantastic season, MLB Advanced Media named the Trenton Thunder 2008 winner of the “Minor League Yearly Award for the Best Team at Double A Level.”
Led by first year AA- manager, Mike Sarbaugh, Southern Division Wild Card Champions, Cleveland Indians AA – Akron Aeros were good runner-ups to Trenton after beating Bowie 3 games – 1 in the division playoffs.
Major league rehab, Travis Hafner and top prospect OF Matt LaPorta, who came over to the Indians in the CC Sabathia trade, hit decisive HR in division series games.
Doing what he had all regular season, Indians 3B prospect, Wes Hodges gobbled up every ball he could get his hands on at the hot corner and got some clutch hits.
Baltimore Orioles Bowie Bay Sox played all their cards during the regular season coming up short in the division playoffs to a tough Akron team.
RF Nolan Reimold ensured a victory with 3 homers and a career high 8 RBI to power Bowie over Akron in Game 2 of the division series.
Up from Fast A Frederick to Bowie June 27th, C Matt Wieters hit 365 BA, 12 HR, and 51 RBI in 65 games, helping the Bay Sox win the regular season Southern Division title by four games over second place Akron. For his heroics during the regular season, Baseball America named Matt Wieters, “2008 Minor League Player of the Year.”